In 1960, Dr. Walter Mischel became famous with what is now known as the “Marshmallow Study.” He and his Stanford University research team studied the concept of self-control working with four year olds. Many years later, Dr. Mischel was asked to consult with the Education and Research Group at Sesame Workshop. He worked with the Sesame Street team to create shows that focused on teaching their young viewers the importance of self-control. The subject matter expert was the Cookie Monster, that blue character who exhibits little self-control! He is best known for his frequent “Me want a cookie” requests.
I laughed out loud reading this because there is a little bit of the Cookie Monster in all of us. “Me wants a sale now. Me wants to be masterful at sales now.” Cookie Monster behavior creates less than desirable sales results. Here’s just a couple of ways that our desire for instant gratification affects sales results.
#1. Ineffective prospecting. Salespeople modeling Cookie Monster behavior gets easily frustrated prospecting for new accounts and large accounts. Without instant results, they default to less stressful activities that provide instant gratification such as surfing their personal Facebook page or meeting friends for coffee in the disguise of ‘talking business.’
#2. Sales skills development. The Cookie Monster shows up saying, “Me wants to be good now.” The low self-control salesperson has difficulty setting aside time to practice new skills or even read a good sales book. She chooses comfort over improvement by sitting in front of the TV, mastering her remote control skills, watching a program that does little or nothing to improve her career or sales results.
So how do we improve the Cookie Monster that lurks in all of us? Apply emotional self-awareness and track and measure when you give into the pull of instant gratification. Research shows that self-control decreases when you’re tired. Make it a priority to get seven to eight hours of sleep. Research also shows that you adopt the behaviors and attitudes of the people with whom you associate. Avoid hanging out with Cookie Monster types. Choose to invest your time with salespeople that score high in self-control and sales results.
Watch this video of the Cookie Monster demonstrating his strategy for improving his self-control. Improve your self-control to increase sales results.